Many hotels are making small moves to lessen energy usage or waste, but the Gaia Napa Valley Hotel and Spa in American Canyon, Calif., would really please its namesake, the Greek earth goddess. Owner Wen Chang told his builders to install energy-efficient heating and air-conditioning, along with tubular skylights in every room, and to apply only low-volatile organic-compound paints. He chose carpeting that contained postconsumer recycled material and recycled tiles for restrooms. Landscapers built a lagoon for koi carp and swans that would be sustained with reclaimed wastewater generated by guests.

Chang strives to be just as green in operations. Every room has recycling bins,
low-flush toilets, low-flow showerheads, and bulk soap and shampoo dispensers, eliminating mini bottles. The housekeeping staff uses environmentally friendly cleaning products; the groundskeeper applies chemical-free fertilizers. And any time guests like, they can peruse a kiosk in the lobby that tracks the hotel’s daily water consumption, electricity use and carbon dioxide emissions.

Note: This story was originally published with the title, "Dive In".